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One of my cats won't come inside the house anymore

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Daisy4, May 27, 2018.

  1. Daisy4

    Daisy4 PetForums Newbie

    May 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    hello cat community!
    I was wondering if anyone could help/offer any advise as I've run out of options! Sorry for the long post in advance!
    Abit of history:
    I have 2 cats, they are sisters and both 2yrs old (3 next month) we rescued them as kittens.
    They were fine as kittens and were introduced as normal to the outside. They have both always been a little timid as adults (not the most affectionate, hate being picked up) not sure why, I can't place any bad experiences other that applying flea treatment etc, over the past year or so one of them has got a lot more friendly and spends most of her time in the house where as one has slowly become more and more of an outdoor cat, distant and unfriendly, I've read that 2 cats becoming seperate is quite normal and I wasn't worried about her being outdoors but it's got to a point where she just won't come in at all, not even to eat, I have to go and find her on the street to get her to eat at all! And sometimes I can't find her. She knows where her food is and it's easily accessible to her in the kitchen (there's a microchip catflap) she may come in at night but we have no idea, during the day we obviously don't see her and our other cat had been eating her food we put down, the vet recommended to keep her food away until she comes and we do but it just means she eats a lot less that the other cat as we only see her once a day if that and not indoors any more. She seems very nervous and scared to come inside, very on edge, my other cat seems to intimidate her. My neighbours have said that she goes into their house a lot and other houses down the street so doesn't seem nervous in that aspect, I just want her to feel safe in the house again, I don't know whether it's because of her sister being territorial or something? She seems scared of us too. Does anyone have any advise/ had a similar experience or can help in anyway to help us intergrate her back into the house at least to eat and just for her to feel like it is her house and she can feel safe, I'm worried she's going to get hurt if she's spending all her time outside and I have no idea where she goes when it's raining etc, thankyou for anything you have in advance, sorry again for the long message, let me know if you need any more info.
    From a very worried cat mother x
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hi @Daisy4 and welcome :)

    Can I check with you that both girls are spayed?

    It sounds as though the home loving cat is chasing away her sister and making her afraid to come home. This is why the cat is going in a neighbour's house and other houses in the street.

    Your cat is getting food from somewhere, possibly several houses, or she would be thin and hungry by now, and would have come home for her food. It is very unlikely she will come home if she is being fed elsewhere, as she is afraid of your other cat.

    For a start you would need to talk to all your neighbours and tell them to stop feeding her. You can't be certain they will do as you ask though, if your cat cries with hunger at their door.

    Then you'd need to divide your house in half with a fixed barrier such as a temporary door to keep your two cats separate, one cat in each half. Then go and find your missing cat, taking a cat carrier with you so you can pop her in it and bring her home without a struggle.

    Next put one cat in each half of the house, so they have no contact with each other, and keep the timid cat shut indoors 24/7 for at least 3 weeks, preferably 4, so that she starts to bond again with you and her home. If you let her out sooner than 3 weeks she will go straight back to the neighbour's house.

    Ideally it would be best to cat proof your garden so your cat can't get out of the garden, but this may not be a practical solution for you and anyway is unlikely to be an immediate possibility, I imagine.

    Or you could build an outdoor enclosure for her to use by accessing it from the house through a microchip cat flap that only has her chip scanned, not your other cat's chip.

    Or you could keep her as an indoor cat.

    Whichever option you choose you will need to keep the two cats separate and try a re-introduction, with very slow and gradual exposure to each other, not allowing any chasing or fighting. Separate the two cats back to their own part of the house if there is any aggression or fear shown by either cat to the other one.

    You will have to go at a pace with the reintroduction that suits your timid cat. If you rush things you will cause her anxiety which could result in stress-related illness such as feline cystitis.
    Set yourself a goal of say 3 months to complete the reintroduction.

    If you go about the process with great sensitivity and caution you have a fair chance of succeeding. But if you haven't achieved a state of harmony between the two cats by the time you've set as a goal, then you will either need to keep them separate in the house permanently or re-home one of them.

    Once the timid cat trusts she is safe in her own quarters in your house so she can't be intimidated by her sister, she will be much less likely to go back to neighbours for shelter and food. It may have to be a time-share arrangement for outdoor access though, so she and her sister are not outdoors at the same time.

    Good luck. :)
    #2 chillminx, May 27, 2018
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
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